The “Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms,” is a learning tool designed for use by teachers, students, and the general public to help explain the terms used in modern genetics and genomics. The Talking Glossary is available in English and Spanish language versions online. It is also available in English as a free downloadable iPhone or iPad app.
The Talking Glossary features the voices of leading scientists in genetics explaining the definition of each word. For example, the director of the NIH, Dr. Francis Collins, explains what a “gene” is in his own words. While the student listens, they are free to explore the rich web page for the term, simultaneously watch a 3D animation of a gene, view a high quality illustration, or learn about other related terms.
Illustrations and 3-D animations help users grasp the meaning of each term. The written and conversational explanations not only add content but provide personal context for each term and a sense of its use in the field of genetics.
You can find the Talking Glossary via the Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code website by going to the “Learn” area in the main menu. The Glossary is featured on both the “Teachers” and “Students” resource pages. Once you are on the main Talking Glossary home page, an alphabetized menu at screen left opens a new screen that includes a term’s pronunciation and a written definition. Select “Listen” to hear a scientist discuss the term candidly, its meaning, and associations. An informal photo of the scientist is accompanied by a brief Profile describing their research or specialization. Additional illustrations or 3-D animations also clarify each term’s meaning.
However, the Talking Glossary doesn’t stop there. Near the bottom of each screen, an option to “download PDF” or “download PowerPoint (PPT)” opens a new window from which the illustration used in the term explanation can be downloaded for classroom use and student papers or presentations. These graphics, specifically created by a medical illustrator/artist at NHGRI, are copyright free! The PDFs are all sized to print in high quality on regular printer paper. The PowerPoint slides can easily be inserted into a presentation.
Each page offers a quiz to “Test your Gene Knowledge.” The 10-question quizzes focus on terms heard in a classroom or found in the news. Each question consists of a brief definition followed by four choices, with immediate feedback and the opportunity to correct errors. Quiz results (e.g., “9 of 10”) are displayed at the end, and a participant may enter their name and print a certificate showing their results and the date the quiz was taken.
Each term in the Talking Glossary also features a “How to cite this term for research papers” button that reveals how to cite the term in either APA or MLA styles.
The Talking Glossary offers everything a “traditional” glossary includes, but so much more! Pronunciation, information placing the term in context, personal conversational explanations and role models, original illustrations and PowerPoints for classroom or student use – even self-paced quizzes for students to check their own grasp of the material. And classroom applications abound: Teachers might award extra credit to students submitting satisfactory results on the quizzes (e.g., 3 points for a “10,” 2 points for a “9,” etc.). The site also shows students how to cite the glossary as a source using MLA or APA style. Students can download the copyright-free graphics for their papers or presentation, and might quote from videos of the experts as if from personal interviews. Anyone expecting a “dry” glossary will find this site a real eye-opener – as well as an incredibly rich instructional tool!
About the Creators:
The Talking Glossary of Genetics is a learning tool developed by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). NHGRI oversaw the NIH's role in the Human Genome Project, the international research effort aimed at mapping the genes in the human body and developing tools for gene discovery. More than 30 leading researchers and scientists provided audio commentary for glossary terms. The project was guided and reviewed by U.S. and Canadian educators and researchers from middle school through college levels in order to ensure that the resource is valuable and accessible for a broad spectrum of users.